Barry Bonds, of the San Francisco Giants, warms up
in the on deck circle during the first inning against the St. Louis
Cardinals on May 22, 2006.
(Photo: Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images/NewsCom)
By Alexandra Cale
May 24, 2006Slugger Barry Bonds hit his 714th home run on Saturday. The San Francisco Giants outfielder is now tied with Babe Ruth for second place in all-time career home runs.
"It's nice. It's done," said Bonds after knocking yet another ball out of the park. Bonds had stepped up to the plate 40 times after his last home run, 13 days earlier. Fans sat in tense anticipation during each at-bat, waiting for the hit that would tie Babe Ruth's record.
But the chase isn't over. One more homer and Bonds will slide into second place in home-run history. He will then be in pursuit of Hank Aaron's all-time record of 755.
Of the more than 15,000 players major-league baseball has had in its 130-year history, Bonds, Ruth, and Aaron are the only three to have hit more than 700 home runs.
But Bonds's record is tainted by allegations that he has used steroids to enhance his performance, charges that may jeopardize his place in baseball history.
He has been accused of using steroids since 1999. Since that year, he has hit (on average) half as many home runs as he did before 1999. Bonds used to average one home run for every 16 at-bats. Now he hits about one home run for every 8 at-bats.
"We don't know," said Giants teammate Omar Vizquel regarding Bonds's alleged steroid use. "We're in the same boat as everybody else. We're just guessing. But no matter what, 714, that's a load of home runs. You can't take that away from him."
While Bonds fights for his own place in history, other players are right behind him.
Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols hit his 23rd home run this week, on his way to breaking Bonds's 2001 record of 73 home runs in one season. Bonds told reporters he is more than supportive of any attempt to break his record.
"Shatter it," he said in an interview with MLB.com on Tuesday. He told reporters he was having more fun watching Pujols than he was in his own pursuit of baseball history.
"I just think the younger guys need that support," Bonds said. "I have to be around for them just like Willie Mays and my father [Bobby Bonds] were around for me. That's what I told [Pujols]. Hey, these records were made to be broken. That's what they're there for. I hope he shatters it. I really do."
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